Tuesday, March 11, 2014

How Do I Feel?

For creative writing class we were given colours and the fact it was "Blue Monday" the most depressing day of the year, and sent home to get on with our homework. So here's the special internet version of mine with links to the soundtrack:

September Mondays

And I still find it so hard to say what I need to say
But I'm quite sure that you'll tell me just how I should feel today
Blue Monday 1988, New Order

Everyone called her Blue, except for Mum and Auntie Vi. She didn’t mind much. At the end of junior school she’d been called Monday-Funday-Church-on-Sunday which was far too long and not grown up enough for someone starting at Mathew Grey Comprehensive. She supposed she should be thankful to John, or possibly his big brother who was into music and had bought the single.

She wasn’t sure if she liked the song. There was something to it, especially the start. The beat that sometimes tripled in speed, the electronic noises that began clear and were then distorted, the guitar that appeared unexpectedly in the tune. She didn’t like the singer though. It would be much better sung by someone else, Phil Collins maybe or Luke from Bros. Even Belinda Carlisle.

Still, she didn’t complain when John put it on. Although you weren’t supposed to like boys, she preferred his company to most of the girls. They made her nervous. Nothing she wore was right, too dull. Her hair was always wrong. And as for make-up, that was a complete mystery. Better to spend time listening to tapes on John’s stereo.

I thought I was mistaken, I thought I heard your words.
Tell me how I feel, Tell me now how do I feel.
Blue Monday-95, New Order

Arriving at college, she nearly left the name behind. She’d introduced herself as Mandy to the people she met the first day. But that first night, dragged reluctantly to the student disco, the DJ played the new mix as she entered. It seemed a sign.

“I’m Mandy, but my friends call me Blue,” she admitted over a third pint of lager in a dark corner of the bar.

“Blue, oh man,” laughed Lyndsey. “Now we’ve known each other for two hours I guess it’s time for deep dark secrets then?”

“Have you got one?” Blue was suddenly, intensely curious.

“Sure. I mean, I’m not really a blond.” She flicked the hair out of her eyes.

“Well you sure act like one!” said Tom. The conversation died for a moment. A familiar beat filled the awkward gap, as the spinning lights reached out from the black dance floor.

“I swear, that DJ must be in love with the song. Maybe he should just give up and marry it.”

“Mmm,” said Blue.

“You know, that’s one way to lose the name,” said Lyndsey. “Get married. There would be no reason to call you Blue.”

“I don’t know. I’m used to it,” she said, not letting on that hell would freeze over before she got married.

She makes my heart beat the same way
As at the start of Blue Monday
Always the last song that they play
At The Indie Disco, The Divine Comedy, 2010

They stood by the entrance of the registry office, shivering in their coats. A small band of smokers were politely giving them room.

“We can wait inside,” said John.

“It’s unlucky to see the bride beforehand,” Blue replied.

He shoved his hands in his pockets. “Yeah, I suppose you have to keep some traditions. I mean you’re not going to change your name or anything.”

“No. I’m comfortable with it. Grown into it even. For that matter, it was you who first called me Blue.”
“Yeah, yeah. As you tell me every time we meet. Still, at least it prepared you for one more tradition today. Something Blue, you know.”

She punched him in the arm. “Don’t make me regret having you walk me up the aisle.”

“Thanks anyway. I was surprised. Flattered too.”

She smiled, her face illuminating the dull September day. “Well you’re my oldest friend. Mum and Auntie Vi wouldn’t even consider it. There’s only so much change they can take.”

Lyndsey appeared at the door, unmistakable in the scarlet bridesmaid’s dress she’d insisted on. “They’re going in now,” she called. They followed her and John took Blue’s coat – cornflower of course – so Lyndsey could fix the dress. “You’re okay? Do you need a minute?”

“I’m ready,” said Blue. “I don’t think I’ve ever been more ready.” Lyndsey waved a signal and the music started. Elvis Presley, I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You.

 Lyndsey handed her the bouquet as she took John’s arm and they walked to the door past the easel holding the sign.

11:30 AM Monday 13th September 2010
Alice Baker and Amanda Mundy


To answer something that came up in class: It's called September Mondays because all three parts take place on a Monday in September; school and college years starting in September.
While we're talking about timing, I like to think that Blue was born in 1976 at the same time as the future members of New Order (and Joy Division) were at the Sex Pistols gig that inspired them to form a band.
For completeness sake, here is the five minute task classwork we did before the homework, on much the same topic. It is almost unrelated to the piece above:


I don't know why blue is associated with depression. Sky blue is a cheery cover. Navy blue warm and enveloping. Blueberries are delicious.

Grey might be a better choice. Grey Monday. That sounds like a proper downer. A real January emotion that. But I'm comfortable with Grey. It's neutrality is makes a good backdrop for highlights and shadows.

Now there's black, but I wear black all the time and not to depress anyone. I wear it at work for formality and authority. I wear it at other times for the blandness except for when it's for the drama. Black can mean anything, which means that equally it can mean nothing.
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